The weather has been wonderful this week, which has made it quite difficult to work down at the allotment as most days it has been too hot to do anything….but I’m certainly not complaining.
I have hoed a little bit this week and tied my outdoor cucumbers up. I also tied my tomato plants up and continued to ‘nip’ off their side shoots. I gave them a good water with my homemade comfrey feed too, as the first little tomatoes are forming on each plant. If the weather stays like this for a while, it will keep the dreaded ‘blight’ away and just maybe we will get a good crop.
I noticed the outdoor grapes vines that I planted last year are beginning to take shape. I am training them on a post and wire support:
I also noticed my first little patty pans are growing and my first courgette. I always get excited when I spot my first courgette of the year, even though I know I will be fed up with them when so many follow afterwards.
The flowers on my plot are doing well now and I have noticed that my calendulas are beginning to flower in ‘calendula alley’ next to my polytunnel (I call it this as it is the path I use to get to my fruit trees and it was also covered in beautiful calendula’s last year).
My sweet peas are growing well too, but my dad’s are looking even nicer in his patch at the front of my allotment:
My wild flowers are doing well and are a hive of activity with all the bees and insects buzzing around.
My neighbour has kindly let me take a photograph of his wildflowers, to show you all. It is the first time he has grown a wildflower patch and I think they are looking really beautiful….if you are reading this Julian, you should be proud of it. It’s great to know we are helping the bee population at our allotment site. I hope more people follow suit:
Most of this week has been spent picking the fruit and vegetables I have grown. In fact, my thumbs now hurt from shelling all the peas and broad beans. It really seems to be is a bumper year so far, even though things are a little late coming.
I am finding that after a long wait, the fruit all seems to be coming at once!
I’m still picking strawberries and we have all eaten so many over the last two weeks that my whole family must have a ‘strawberry glow’. I have given lots away and also made my first lot of strawberry jam of the summer this week, which i have been sharing with my allotment friends.
I picked my last lot of rhubarb for this year. It’s best to stop picking rhubarb at the beginning of July so it can build up its energy stores after this, ready for winter.
This week I found my white currants and red currants were also ready to pick. I also found a few black currants ready to pick too.
I’ve got to say, I really hate picking and preparing currants, as they are so fiddly and I hate pulling the little green stalks out, but my daughters love them so it is all worthwhile.
I froze most of the currants by ‘open freezing’ on a tray before putting them into a bag when they were frozen. I’ve got to say that when they were frozen, they looked like little jewels glistening on my tray. They looked too good to eat.
I’m starting to harvest my raspberries this week, but I think I ate more than I actually picked as I really love them:
Also this week I found my gooseberries were ready, so I picked all of these too. You can see them in the smaller basket at the bottom of the photo:
We have been eating so many of the fruit and vegetables that I picked this week, but I am also freezing the surplus ready for the long, cold winter. During these bleak and dreary days I use the fruit to make pies, crumbles, jams, jellies cordials etc. and it’s lovely to be reminded of summer again when it’s cold outside.
I didn’t quite realise how many bags of fruit and vegetables that I had frozen this week, until I looked yesterday. I have three bags of broad beans, 1½ bags of peas, a small bag of mangetout, one bag of rhubarb, one bag of gooseberries, one bag of mixed currants and an astounding eight bags of strawberries!…but I am confident it will all get used before next summer, it’s a good job we have three freezers.
Gooseberries are a fruit that I used to eat like cherries when I was a child (just like my daughters still do), but now I can’t eat them unless they are cooked as my taste must have changed over the years.
A lovely way to use gooseberries is to make a gooseberry fool. It is a very easy recipe (I only post easy / simple recipes on my blog) and it tastes absolutely delicious.
If you need to look back at this recipe, or any other recipe, just click the word ‘recipe’ at the top of my blog and all my recipes will appear listed on a page, ready for you to ‘click’ on for easy access.
A Gooseberry Fool Recipe
2 large handfuls of gooseberries (washed, topped and tailed)
5 or 6 digestive biscuits
150g low fat Greek yoghurt
90 ml double cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
A little bit of grated chocolate to serve.
Put the gooseberries and granulated sugar into a saucepan.
Cook over a low heat for approximately five minutes, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens.
Chill the sugar and gooseberry mix in the fridge for about an hour.
Whip the cream and caster sugar until it just holds the ‘peaks’ when you take your whisk out.
Fold in the Greek yoghurt and gooseberry sugar mix.
Crush the digestive biscuits in a bag, by bashing with a rolling pin.
Put the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of four small dishes.
Top the biscuit crumbs with the gooseberry mix.
Leave the dishes in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.
Just before serving, grate a little chocolate over the top for show.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Monday at 4pm. Have a good weekend and enjoy the good weather!